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Volleyball Heads To The Mountains

Oct 6, 2022
Team Notes TV: Pac-12 Bay Area (vs. Utah) Live Stats (vs. Utah) Live Stream (vs. Colorado) Live Stats (vs. Colorado)

BERKELEY – California volleyball (7-7, 0-4 Pac-12) heads east this weekend for the 2022 season's third week of conference play, visiting Salt Lake City for an Oct. 7 matchup against Utah followed by a trip to Boulder, Colo., for an Oct. 9 contest against Colorado.

The Bears are 10-16 all-time against the Utes, who rank 39th in the country with 13.56 kills per set, and 6-15 all-time against the Buffaloes, who are third-best in the nation at 3.04 blocks per set.

Cal hopes to earn its first Pac-12 win since Feb. 12, 2021, a five-set home victory over No. 15 Stanford.

Utah is led by outside hitter Madelyn Robinson, one of the nation's premier attackers who ranks second in the Pac-12 in kills per set (4.40) and fourth in total kills (198), and left back Vanessa Ramirez, who leads the conference with 251 total digs and 4.40 digs per set. Colorado, meanwhile, fields the Pac-12's leading hitter in middle blocker Meegan Hart (.464 hitting percentage) and one of the nation's top defensive players in middle blocker Alexia Kuehl, who ranks 15th in the NCAA (4th Pac-12) with 1.44 blocks per set and 2nd in the conference with 72 total blocks.

First serve is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. PT against Utah on Friday and at 11:00 a.m. against Colorado on Sunday.
After Week Five, Cal boasts the Pac-12's top two blocking freshmen in Sophie Scott and Mikayla Hayden. No other program boasts two players among the NCAA's top 10 freshmen in blocks per set (Scott No. 5, Hayden No. 10), and only one other program (Northwestern State) has a freshman duo ranked higher than Cal's on the NCAA's total blocks list (Scott 65.0, Hayden 57.0).
Junior Lydia Grote has posted a fantastic start to the season, accumulating 231.0 points, fourth-most in the Pac-12, through five weeks of play. She also leads the team in total kills (191, 6th Pac-12), kills per set (3.67, 6th Pac-12) and points per set (4.4, 6th Pac-12). Her play in Week Two of the season earned her All-Utah Valley Tournament honors.
Cal currently ranks 31st in the nation (4th Pac-12) with 2.56 blocks per set and 3rd in the conference with 133 total blocks. They are one of just three Pac-12 teams (along with Oregon and Oregon State) who have multiple players in the Pac-12's Top 15 in digs per set (Tara DeSa and Annalea Maeder), one of three (Colorado, Stanford) with multiple entries in the conference's Top 10 in total blocks (Sophie Scott, Mikayla Hayden) and one of four (Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona) with multiple players in the conference's Top 15 in total digs (DeSa, Maeder).
Juniors Lydia Grote and Leah Schmidt participated in the 2022 USA Volleyball National Team Open Program on Feb. 25-27, scoring invitations after stellar sophomore seasons. Grote's 2021 campaign included a 21-kill game (vs. Utah, Oct. 17) and a 15-kill, .344-hitting percentage outing against Washington State (Nov. 11). Schmidt, meanwhile, was named to the 2021 All-Tulane Tournament team and subsequently posted the third-most kills on the team (200) during the season as one of Cal's most prolific players.
Sophomore Annalea Maeder is on pace to far surpass her stellar freshman campaign, in which she led the Bears with 701 assists and 8 double-doubles. Early inn the 2022 season, she recorded a career-high 52 assists and 14 digs in the Bears' Sept. 2 win over Northern Arizona, as well as a 51-assist, 14-dig outing against UC Davis on Sept. 17 that put her over 300 assists on the season and 1,000 in her collegiate career. More recently, Maeder posted 50 assists and 14 digs against Oregon State, thus bringing her 2022 assists total to 400. Cal volleyball's lone international student-athlete is also a star in the classroom, majoring in molecular environmental biology, and participates in a student-run business consulting club whose clients include various Fortune 500 companies nationwide.
This year, Cal brings in four highly-touted prospects from around the country to help bolster its squad. Middle blocker Mikayla Hayden (Buford, Ga.) was one of the best high school players in the state of Georgia, posting over 1,000 kills in her career in addition to 2 state championships and several All-Region and All-County nods. Fellow middle blocker Sophie Scott (Portland, Ore.) earned her way onto multiple State and All-League teams, while outside hitter Peyton DeJardin (Pasadena, Calif.) reached Third Team All-American status in 2021. Setter Natalie Lau (San Francisco) rounds out the group, coming off a season where she earned a spot on the All-America Watch List and the All-WCAL First Team.
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